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Combating Your Dog’s Allergies

So, your dog has allergies. You’ve probably been wondering how you can help relieve his symptoms. It can be downright frustrating to watch your dog suffer in any way. From scratching his ears to chewing on his feet to the flaky or inflamed skin, you’re seeing first-hand how very uncomfortable your dog is. There are some things you can do at home to help relieve some of the suffering associated with allergies.

First things first: consult your vet to discuss a plan.  Even if you’re fairly certain what type of allergies your dog is suffering from (ie. food allergies, environmental allergies etc.), please be sure to make it a priority to visit the vet to receive the proper diagnosis. Unfortunately, all types of dog allergies can present the very same symptoms. Your veterinary clinic is the first line of defense against any condition, including allergies. Allow your vet to be part of your long term plan to help keep your dog’s allergies from going bad to worse. An important thing to note is that allergies are not always mild or “just an itch” even if they first appear that way. In rare circumstances, your pup’s allergic reactions can get worse over time and be life threatening, so it’s vital that your vet is aware of symptoms as early as possible in order to give your dog the best treatment. 

Here’s what you can do at home:

Be sure your dog is on some type of flea prevention plan. Many dogs are allergic to fleas.  (As if the general annoyance of fleas wasn’t enough. Sigh.)

Keep your home free of dust and dander. Be vigilant about dusting and vacuuming. Don’t forget the carpets, furniture, curtains, your bedding and your dog’s bed. Leaving a few windows open for at least an hour a day can also help keep fresh air circulating.

Regularly flush your dog’s ears with an ear cleaning solution. Choose a solution that is made specifically for pets. This will help keep your dog’s ears free of allergens and help prevent the growth of any microorganisms and just free the ear canal of any irritants. These solutions can be purchased directly from your vet and they can direct.

Wash your dog once a week. Oatmeal baths are great and you can even give your dog a foot bath every evening by rinsing his feet off after he’s been out in the grass. Choose a perfume-free shampoo and conditioner as they are less irritating to your dog’s skin, especially if he’s already suffering. You can try making very simple, non-irritating dog shampoo with these ingredients or stop by a locally owned shop like Paddywack in Mill Creek for a range of options. You may even need to consider a prescription shampoo but your vet can help you make that decision, and advise you on how often to give baths depending on your pet’s symptoms. Follow up any bath with a topical treatment to help with any infection or itchiness. Epsom salts in your dog’s bath or an apple cider vinegar rinse are great for relieving itchiness.

Provide a distraction. When you’ve done all you can, playing your dog’s favorite game, taking her on a walk, or throwing her favorite toy can help keep their minds off of itching, chewing, or irritating inflamed areas while treatments kick in. A yummy bone or chew toy puzzle that takes them a long time to enjoy, or a relaxing belly rub and cuddle session can sometimes be just the thing your pup needs to lower their stress levels and give their bodies time to recover.

Consider a change in diet. Food allergies are becoming more and more prevalent in dogs. While a trial and error method of eliminating ingredients from your dog’s diet may seem daunting, don’t give up. With your vet’s help, you can target exactly what your dog may be allergic to and find the diet that will work with his body and not against it. There are some situations where a prescription diet may be prescribed but don’t worry just yet, start at square one. Your pooch has a ton of nutritional requirements that differ from ours, so if you want to go the 100% home-made meal route, definitely do not start without approval from your vet to ensure that Fido is getting all the nutrients he needs. 

As you work to find ways to relieve the suffering associated with allergies, be patient, don’t give up and most importantly, be kind! Take things one day at a time and with your due diligence, your dog will be on his way to healing.  

Tailored Pet Services walkers and sitters make note of your pup’s allergies flaring up, or if they seem to be having allergic symptoms they haven’t noticed before. We’re here to help, and during your meet and greet consultation with us you can let us know if any allergens cause a severe reaction or if any medications have been prescribed to give your pooch immediately in the event that they come into contact with the allergen. Check our dog walking page if you’re interested in attentive care for your furry loved one while exercising outside.